Stitch (c) Disney – All right reserved

Last year my family went on a cruise of the Eastern Caribbean.  Since we were already in Florida we thought we would spend a week at DisneyWorld as well.  While we we there my oldest daughter bought a large Stitch plush.  It was so large that in order to bring it back with us she had to stuff it in a large carry on bag.  Needless to say, Homeland Security had a good time searching the bag for other contraband.

Why does she like Stitch so much?  I’m not sure.  The thing that really sticks out for me, however, is the following quote from the Lilo and Stitch movie:

Ohana means family, family means nobody gets left behind. Or forgotten.

In one quote the writers managed to sum up part of what it means to be human.  Collectively we are all part of a giant tribe of people.  When someone goes missing there are people out searching for that individual and even though they don’t know them they feel compelled to help search.  When a building collapses there is a tremendous amount of effort into searching for survivors and then recovering the bodies.  There is a “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier” located in many countries around the world.  There is an interconnectedness between people that extends beyond familial, cultural or national boundaries.  We cheer on our heroes because they are an extension of ourselves.  Their success is our success.  Their failures are ours. We encourage those who reach for the stars because we know that we ourselves would like to be doing just that.

There is a dark side, however, in that this same attitude can be twisted for harm.  While the vision of angry villagers swarming Dr. Frankensteins castle in order to kill the monster seem laughable, they are not far from the truth.  The same desire to help can be twisted into the desire for vengeance.  The passion for helping can easily be turned into a passion for revenge.

But that is what it means to be human:  we experience the ups and downs of life and move through them.  Sometimes we do it alone, but often we do it in the company of others.

I am very happy and proud to say that the group of people that I am moving through life with are a great group of people:  my family, my friends, my co-workers.  You are all part of my tribe and I thank you.